Metal Monkey Mania was at ArtPrize 2011 and these monkeys were hanging out on the Blue Bridge! Dale Rogers, an established metal sculptor and an avid believer in public art, brought a pack of Dogs to ArtPrize 2010 in Grand Rapids, MI – in 2011 he brought a troop of Monkeys!
When Dale saw the Blue Bridge in 2010 he immediately started thinking about what type of sculpture could successfully be hung from the bridge beams He and his team walked the bridge, looking at it from all angles, took measurements, and began to strategize.
He immediately came up with the idea of monkeys hanging from the bridge. When he returned from ArtPrize 2010, he started right away on the artwork and design, rendered it in CAD and created the first prototype in December 2010. Each monkey is 4 1/2 feet tall, 2 feet wide and 6 inches deep and each weighs about 30 pounds. They are made of Steel and are designed to oxidize into a rich brown color.
The monkeys are hanging in groupings of two or three. A grouping of two will be about 9 feet long and three will be 13 1/2 feet long. Safety is always the number one consideration for Dale when planning his artwork and these monkeys were designed and planned to be as safe and secure as humanly possible. The hands of the monkeys have a bolt system so they will be bolted together in their groupings and a cable system secures them to the bridge girders; they can not be lifted off. The monkeys sway a bit in the wind but not excessively.
Dale’s exhibit had 100 monkeys hanging on the full span of the bridge. Dale has always believed that art can enhance a community, but also feels that exhibits such as this are highly beneficial. To this end, Dale partnered again with the Humane Society of West Michigan, this time with monkeys instead of dogs, to assist them in reaching their fundraising goals of $100,000.
Here you can see Dale explaining how he hung the monkeys on the bridge. A lot of thought was put into how they would hang so as not to cause any damage to the bridge itself.